Wrong Should Equal Harm

I was having a discussion with a close friend about the amount of moral judgments that take place in society today. Most conservatives oppose same-sex marriage, because they say it’s wrong. It’s the same when it comes to the rights of people who are transgender. What those conservatives can’t explain is who is actually being harmed.

As the discussion unfolded, I began to realize there should be a link between actual harm and what is considered wrong. I say actual harm because for something to be wrong, there must be actual harm. Connecting harm and wrong in this way means that people would consider the impact of the supposedly wrong activity on those involved. When someone defines another’s sex life, financial decisions, or anything else as wrong–they are almost always looking at the issue from their point of view. Once you attach your experiences and the beliefs they have helped form to another’s life (with no regard for or knowledge of their experiences and beliefs,) you are deciding something is wrong because you don’t like it.

Part of respecting one another is respecting the idea that we are all different. Those differences, obviously, create different results. Applying your filters to another’s life and judging their life is failing to respect differences. This is why equating wrong to actual harm makes sense. If another person isn’t being actually harmed, telling them they are wrong is us trying to force our beliefs on them.

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